Northern Isles representatives Alistair Carmichael MP and Liam McArthur MSP have welcomed confirmation this week that a long-delayed agreement has been reached which will allow certainty for the future funding of fuel poverty charity THAW Orkney.
Following representations and meetings with officials in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the UK government has confirmed that a new four-year extension of regulations facilitating the British Gas Energy Trust, which funds THAW and other fuel poverty organisations, will be enacted in the coming weeks. Confirmation of future funding had been uncertain for several months due to discussions between the UK and Scottish governments over the administration of the Warm Homes Discount scheme, which have now been resolved.
Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael said:
“While it is frustrating that it took so long to reach this stage, the news that there will be a new four-year settlement for the British Gas Energy Trust – and the prospect of increased funding – is welcome and should provide some stability for THAW for the near future. THAW has been a vital part of combatting fuel poverty for families in the isles and so I am glad that matters are finally being resolved.
“We know that fuel poverty as a part of the wider cost-of-living crisis is going to be a serious challenge for many months to come and we will need all hands on deck to respond to it. Ensuring that THAW is able to continue to operate and have some longer-term certainty is an important part of that team effort – so this is good news for us all.”
Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur said:
“THAW has provided an invaluable service to many local households over the years. This has been essential in a community that suffers from some of the worst levels of fuel poverty in the country.
“As we find ourselves in the grip of the worst cost of energy crisis for generations, it is a service needed now more than ever. In that context, I welcome the long-overdue agreement between the Scottish and UK Governments which paves the way to allowing THAW to access the funding it needs in the immediate future.
“As well as an end to the uncertainty for THAW staff and clients, it is welcome to see that funding for this programme is also being increased. In the context of the current challenges facing households across the country, this is absolutely essential.”